Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Sync homework report: Dead Reckoning

So I watched Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, an extremely looong Tom Cruise movie of whose existence I had been blissfully unaware until a week ago. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town. Every time someone appears to die in a movie, she asks me, "Is he dead?" and I would have enjoyed being able to answer, "I reckon."

In my February 7 post "What's the second key?" I discussed a sync video that focuses on the theme -- found both in Dead Reckoning and in another movie, Uncharted, which I haven't seen -- of two cross-shaped keys that must be combined and used together. Starting with the assumption that one of the two keys represents the Rosary (literally "garland of roses"), I reasoned that the other might be associated with lilies and ended up linking it to Fortuna and the idea of luck and coincidence. You can read the post for the details of that train of thought.

When the two keys are introduced in Dead Reckoning, we see them on a screen labeled красный and белый -- "red" and "white"; one of them is decorated with two small red jewels, and the other with white ones. This difference is never mentioned by any of the characters -- they never specify which key they're talking about beyond "the other key" -- but it's there, and it fits with the idea of a rose key and a lily key. Very early on, we learn that one of the keys is in the possession of a woman named Ilsa Faust. Faustus means "fortunate" in Latin, so a female Faust is clearly a link to Fortuna. Her key should be the white one, then, and such proves to be the case. The other key, the red one, turns out to be in the possession of a character called the White Widow. Since white is a symbol of virginity, and Jesus' mother was a widow, this is consistent with the red key being linked to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So far, so good. No really new light is shed on the meaning of the two keys, but at least it confirms what I've got.

(By the way, William Wright, you asked what it means for the Rosary to be one of the keys. I'm working on a post about that.)

I was expecting key syncs going in, of course. What I wasn't expecting was a link to my January 7 post "My tail is dun." The title of that post is a reference to a scene in the Piers Anthony novel Centaur Aisle, in which Dor dictates an essay to a magical "spelling bee," only to have the insect replace most of the words with correctly-spelled homophones. Thus the final sentence, "My tale is done," comes out as "My tail is dun." I ended the post with a reference to Paul H. Dunn, bringing in a third homophone.

In Dead Reckoning, there's a scene where the character Benji is trying to disarm a bomb, which requires him to solve "a cylinder cipher. There's eight wheels" (a nod to the eight-spoked Wheel of Fortune). Then Benji realizes that "the wheels, they spell out a message: You are done."

"No way," says Benji's partner Luther. "Not yet, we aren't." Then Benji clarifies:

"It's my last name," Benji says. "It knows who I am."

Confusion between done and a homophone is a pretty specific feature, not something you run across every day.


William Wright (WW) said...

I thought of your "My tail is dun" post when I saw that bomb scene from Dead Reckoning on the plane last month.

There is also a potential connection to your stag with the cross between its antlers. You saw that image in a bomb, also.

When you look at the phrase "U R Dunn", you can combine the U and R, to get UR. Ur would be Sun or Fire in Elvish. Several things you can think through with that phrase.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

And dunn means “dark” — the dark sun, perhaps a black hole.

’Urdunn, spelled exactly like that in the standard transliteration, also happens to be the Arabic form of Jordan, though I’m not sure what relevance that might have.

William Wright (WW) said...

Like the black sun found on an Oreo.


On Jordan, there is "Michael Jordan". He has come up before over on my blog, and in connection with this general theme, but maybe that is a stretch (or at least takes quite a bit of placing one's finger on the scale to make that connection):


WanderingGondola said...

Some small links here to my Elder Scrolls-centric comment from last week. For one, the eight Towers can be seen as spokes of the Wheel's reality-structure.

Dagoth Ur is more interesting here though. Besides the "UR", he is a Dark Elf or Dunmer; in TES' main Elvish tongue, dun is "dark/cursed" and mer is "elf/folk". (Coming downhill from both Tolkien and D&D, the Dunmer are different through lore: branched off from the first elves by following other gods, their curse -- the changing of skin colour from gold to grey, and eyes from light to red -- resulted from the actions of three of their rulers.)

Also, the circular aspect of Dagoth's golden mask reminds me of a radiant sun.

Above Majestic (with an excursus on turban jokes)

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